In honor of a transformational $10 million gift from Kimberly and Joseph Wesley, University Hospitals is establishing the Wesley Center for Immunotherapy at University Hospitals (UH) Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland. This gift will further enable physician-scientists to engage in groundbreaking research and bring new, life-extending immunotherapies to patients. One such patient is Joseph Wesley himself, who has been a patient at Seidman Cancer Center for many years.
Ted Teknos, MD
Thomas F. Zenty III
“When a cancerous growth larger than a half dollar appeared on my cheek, I immediately went to Dr. Teknos [Ted Teknos, MD, President and Chief Scientific Officer of UH Seidman Cancer Center]. Surgery and other traditional treatments weren’t options for me, so we turned to immunotherapy,” said Mr. Wesley. “Today, the growth is smaller than a dime, and I will continue until I’m cancer-free. My team of doctors and nurses at UH have been tremendously helpful through the entire process. Kim and I chose to make this gift because we’re firm believers in the power of immunotherapy and want others to benefit from this leading-edge innovation.”
“Immunotherapy is an increasingly frequent component of cancer care, and UH is uniquely positioned to offer it,” said Thomas F. Zenty III, UH Chief Executive Officer. “This extraordinary gift from the Wesleys will help ensure UH is able to increase our capacity to treat patients with new therapies.”
UH currently has 61 immunotherapy trials open, including 17 immunotherapy-centered clinical trials originating from the UH cell therapy facility, which generates chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell, NK cell, and other cell-based therapies. In addition, UH experts are creating cells for treatment in just 8 days, down from an average of 12 to 30 days in commercially available CAR T-cell trials. This innovation allows UH Seidman Cancer Center physicians to deliver therapy in a timely manner and to more patients than would otherwise be possible.
“Of the 22 patients who have completed immunotherapy trials by receiving UH-generated CAR T cells, there’s been an overall response rate of 85 % and a 70% rate of complete remission,” said Dr. Teknos. “UH is one of less than a dozen academic medical centers to have successfully manufactured CAR T cells for human use and is the cornerstone of the nation’s only National Center for Regenerative Medicine.”